Passing motorists on the M1 between junctions 24 and 25 a year or so back might have noticed the lightning rod that struck Games Workshop’s Nottingham HQ. For it was in that moment that the Warhammer custodians realised the games license they’d been jealously guarding wasn’t a finite resource. They could hand it out to whichever developers they liked, they reasoned, as many times as they liked – so long as the games didn’t step on each others’ toes.
The results so far may not have been a victory for quality control, but we’re certainly not wanting for variety. Beyond Full Control’s Space Hulk adaptation, Blood Bowl 2, Slitherine’s 40k strategy game, the Eternal Crusade MMO and whatever it is Creative Assembly are working on, there’s also a grid-based tactical card game to look tentatively forward to. Here’s its first trailer.
Space Wolf will be a turn-based combat game, in which collectible cards are used to determine the actions of characters in a 3D battle environment.
The fighting field itself seems to take its primary inspiration from XCOM. Developers Herocraft say we’ll be able to use terrain and cover to gain an advantage over our opponents – presumably conferred via bonuses to dice rolls. And we’ll be encouraged to “find [our] own ways to accomplish missions” – though I doubt diplomacy will be among the options.
Outside of battle, we’ll build decks. Inside them, we’ll gain “powerful” cards by completing missions and challenges. And then, back outside again, we’ll upgrade those cards at something called the Iron Priest’s Forge.
The cards visible on the nascent Space Wolf website are possessed of that familiar D&D brand of maths – Attack: 40×3, Hit: 85%, Ammo capacity: 3, that sort of thing. That usually denotes a pleasing degree of tactical complexity, but also a sort of randomised messiness less like the deterministic Hearthstone and more like, well, Warhammer 40k. You’ll probably already have an inkling as to whether that suits your turn-based tastes or not.
All of Herocraft’s previous tactics games – all of their games, actually – have been for mobile devices. The same will be true here, but shouldn’t necessarily be cause for alarm – a shared release between PC and iOS has become increasingly frequent round these parts, particularly in thissort of genre.
Like all of the recently-okayed Warhammer adaptations, the concept is, as they say in Nottingham, sound as a pound. But can the implementation possibly rival the polish of a Firaxis or a Blizzard? What do you reckon?